Depression is treatable: Let’s Talk

For someone living with #depression, talking to a person they trust is often the first step towards treatment & recovery.  ~Tweet by WHO.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Depression, as an illness characterised by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that you normally enjoy, accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities, for at least two weeks. It is surprising to note that depression is the leading cause of ill – health and disability worldwide.

While there is a perception that feeble minded people suffer from depression and anxiety, it is not so. Depression is an illness that can happen to anybody, at any age, or in any place. People with depression normally have a loss of energy, change in appetite, anxiety, reduced concentration, indecisiveness, restlessness, feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness; and thoughts of self-harm or suicide. Fortunately, depression can be prevented and treated.

Here, I present a guest post on this topic written by Sarbani Chowdhury, a Clinical Psychologist with the Indian Air Force. Read on what Sarbani says about depression…



Depression is curable

DEPRESSION LET’S TALK-That was the theme for this years’ world health day as declared by the World Health Organization. In October 2016, WHO had launched a one-year global campaign on depression with the goal that more people with depression, in all countries, seek and get help.

As a Clinical Psychologist, I couldn’t have agreed more with the theme. We really do not realise how badly people need a release. It is my privilege to help people explore their inner world, their psychological terrain. Peoples’ emotions, thoughts and feelings – this is my data. This data helps me to better understand – what is it that emotionally paralyses human beings? We, as a society, really have no idea how suffocated people are in their emotions. Most people have nobody to express themselves entirely to. Everyone is holding back their vulnerabilities to maintain the social image of a confident and happy person. We have WhatsApp and facetime and social media – and we have stress and anxiety and depression.

Our forefathers had neither. Because they talked to each other. Because talking helps.


Stigma around depression is due to ignorance

Stigma in our society around depression is very real. Unfortunately, we live in a society where when you break your arm, everyone runs over to sign on your cast but if you tell people you are depressed, everyone runs the other way. That’s the stigma! We are so accepting of any part of our body breaking down other than our brain.

That is pure ignorance and that ignorance has created the world that does not understand depression, does not understand mental health. There is a tremendous amount of shame and guilt associated with the problem. The disapproving look on a friend’s face, whispers around you, so one holds it in and hides it even though it is keeping you in bed every day, making your life empty no matter how hard you try.

Even today, there is a tremendous amount of shame and guilt, a disapproving look on a friend’s face, whispers that you are weak, associated with any ailment involving the brain that the person can’t even share his or her problem in our country. They usually put on the mask of happiness and carry the heavy load on their heads. The idea that a person has lost mental balance “DIMAAG KHARAAB HO GAYA HAI,” is looked down upon as if it’s a weakness to have depression. The person suffering, as well as the family members, are not willing to understand, just as we are not in total control of our heart, pancreas or kidneys, similarly we are not in control of our brain.

And so, the problem keeps getting perpetuated but the strength actually lies in owning up the problem and seeking help. It is transformative and optimising your lifestyle and your mind and achieve full potential.

If you think you have depression, seek help

Here’s some practical advice on what to do if you think you have depression. I am sharing the following recommendations from the WHO site:

  • Talk to someone you trust about your feelings. Most people feel better after talking to someone who cares about them.
  • Seek professional help. Your local doctor or psychologist is a good place to start.
  • Keep up with activities that you used to enjoy when you were well.
  • Stay connected. Keep in contact with family and friends.
  • Exercise regularly, even if it’s just a short walk.
  • Stick to regular eating and sleeping habits.
  • Accept that you might have depression and adjust your expectations. You may not be able to accomplish as much as you do usually.
  • Avoid or restrict alcohol intake and refrain from using illicit drugs; they can worsen depression.
  • If you feel suicidal, contact someone for help immediately.

Let’s talk without any fear. Let’s create conversations. Let’s start talking again.



Image credit: WHO site (

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    By: Somali K Chakrabarti

    Hi there! Welcome to Scribble and Scrawl! Here, I delve into themes related to positive lifestyle – from making smart-living choices, savvy financial decisions to nurturing the mind, body and soul. I share my travel experiences, explore facets of art and culture and highlight inspiring stories. Hope you enjoy reading my posts.

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Somali K Chakrabarti

Hi there! Welcome to Scribble and Scrawl! Here, I delve into themes related to positive lifestyle - from making smart-living choices, savvy financial decisions to nurturing the mind, body and soul. I share my travel experiences, explore facets of art and culture and highlight inspiring stories. Hope you enjoy reading my posts.

  • Post on depression is timely. Till very recently, many of us did not even understand that we are depressed. Unless we recognize a status, we cannot go to a doctor and start treatment.

  • The more we talk about depression and mental illness, the less it will be stigmatised. Agree with you that when we make the choice to stand up and seek help, we are strong. We need to look from the outside into ourselves to recognise how we truly feel and why we are feeling a certain way. Last year depression hit me quite badly and I sought therapy. It wasn’t overnight that I got better but the therapist thought me a very important lesson – asking yourself what’s the worst that can happen in each situation….and I’d come to realise that being down in the dumps, the only way is up 🙂

    • That’s an invaluable lesson Mabel, being down in the dumps the only way is up. Good to know that your therapist helped you to rebaseline expectations that may have lead to depressing thoughts and feelings. It shows that the support played a crucial role. Thank you, Mabel for sharing your experience.

  • I’m happy that you have chosen a topic that’s affecting more and more people…especially the youth.

    It’ll be great if the education system can own it up and actually do something about it…soon!

    Depression is not restricted to the current education system and job scenario, other factors are relationship and family.

    I feel the major reasons causing depression are human traits, expectations and ego!

  • Sure, depression is treatable…depends on how much deep you have gone into it and lost control over your thoughts. I am the proud mother of a Psychiatrist and listen to the stories of treatment with great interest. The earlier you talk about what is making you sad, what is upsetting you, the better it is. Often people wear a mask and try to hide their emotions, which increases their vulnerability to this state of mind.
    Thanks for highlighting this issue, which is playing havoc with the lives of modern, technology driven people.

    • Thanks Balroop. You so rightly say that projecting a happy face and trying to hide emotions increases stress and makes one vulnerable to depression. Great to know that your daughter is a psychiatrist. Am sure that there would be much understanding to be developed from the stories of treatment.

  • Quite an impactful post on Depression, Sarbani. It’s all about perspective. The fatal effects of depression could be prevented if we change our attitude towards the depressed person. Opening up is indeed very effective in the treatment & recovery. Thanks, Somali, for sharing space with Sarbani.

  • A good post as usual Sarbani. You’ve been doing a good job with your patients too, so just keep it up.

    If only youngsters today could understand that internet and social media cannot replace healthy interpersonal relationships, and actual talking cannot replace cyber chatting, we would have fewer psychosocial and mental health problems.

  • bhudeb chakrabarti

    May 13, 2017 at 7:26 am

    An excellently written enlightening post about how to come out of depression by Sarbani Chowdhury. We should have a healthy view of life around us in the world and should be feerless not allowing depression to get any foothold.

  • NIcely covered ‘depression’ an invisible but most prominent aliment haunting this so called modern world. one of the most important factor is recognition of an individual undergoing or begining to get depressed. This a tough challenge esp in this virtual friendship world. sharing is one of the best ways to recognize yourself.
    Dr Nirmala is right, but we have learn to live in this technology world as this is inevitable for most of individuals social locii esp. young genreation as nicely told in the article. I feel Sharing in virtual world can also help, If we have an access to our youngsters virtual world we can read what is going on their minds and than all we need to do is talk talk talk to get the tips of Dr Sarabani in the routine of identified depression probabales esp the excercise and lifestyle habits well before depression sets its roots. In the end I feel identifying is half job done. Nicely covered and well advised.

  • Thanks for this post Dr Sarbani. I have one question how can someone battle against unwanted thoughts that keep raging in the mind? The recommendations are very helpful and the prejudices that we have is holding us a society to change our attitudes to depression.

    • Sarbani Chowdhury

      May 16, 2017 at 5:14 pm

      Thoughts emerge from our past experiences and memory. Use memories but do not allow memories to use you. If you are victimised by your thoughts then you are getting victimised by your past. Just by changing your perspective a little bit you will easily move from being a victim to the creator of your destiny.

  • A nice article Dr Sarbani and it has come in the right time… Stress has become a part of present life style and if we do not share our feeling and thoughts it further leads to depression. Cases of youngsters committing suicide are on the rise. Bye simply sharing one feelings/problems we can cure this silent disease and bring about a change. Keep up the good work. Looking forward for more such articles from you.

  • Ranjan Kumar choudhury

    May 14, 2017 at 2:30 am

    Well said…recipe for treating depression is positive thoughts, hope and help of friend or clinical psychologist. Very well written post .

  • A very well written article on a subject which is more real in today’s world environment. The author has made some recommendations which are sound, but would like to add that at times, sharing emotions with a friend who one meets once in a while can also help possibly because of lack of commitment between the two.

  • Excellent article on depression stressing upon the need to talk n share problems in the present era of electronic media and virtual friends.
    Being in medical profession, I realise that what we see is just the tip of iceberg, the depression has already spread its roots deep in the society..n this article emphasizes how to practically deal with it on ground. Early identification and timely intervention is the key..and its importance has been nicely brought out in this article, unlike external wounds which are apparent ,the wounds are within, in -apparent..but believe me, the person needs support.
    Thanks for emphasising the issue, as pubic awareness and your advises can save someone’s life..

  • Good article. Cleared the doubts about depression and mental illness. Yes, first step is very important i. e let’s talk.

  • A very informative article about the subject which inspite of being a common ailment in today’s world yet is still cobsidered taboo to discuss. The author has very nicely described the various aspects of depression and how we can seek help. I’m sure this article would be of great help to people suffering with depression and is useful generally for everyone to identify signs of depression in their lived ones. Thank you ms author for this valuable information

  • Very good post about depression Mam
    My only addition to this is that, in all over the world everyone has been suffering from some level of Depression. Hence we have to motivate us by seeing others and always try to make others motivated by giving examples.
    My one more submission for the parents is not to quote examples of others to ur children.

    This is a fantastic quote from Gita
    Despair not; remember the Lord says in the Gita, “To work you have the right, but not to the result.” Gird up your loins, my boy. I am called by the Lord for this. I have been dragged through a whole life full of crosses and tortures, I have seen the nearest and dearest die, almost of starvation; I have been ridiculed, distrusted, and have suffered for my sympathy for the very men who scoff and scorn. Well, my boy, this is the school of misery, which is also the school for great souls and prophets for the cultivation of sympathy, of patience, and, above all, of an indomitable iron will which quakes not even if the universe be pulverised at our feet.

    • Sarbani Chowdhury

      May 16, 2017 at 5:32 pm

      Thank you for sharing the excellent quote from Gita. Positive psychology does play an important role in reducing stress, anxiety and depression.

  • I wonder if talking help? May be with the right person , with the person in whose abilities we trust. The post says the’s a nice post, Somali!

  • Organizations like WHO are needed to help fight the stigma that concerns depression. My cousin recently took her life, and I can’t help but think that if her husband was able to see the warning signs, she might still be alive. She left a husband and 3 young sons. Not only is it important for the one suffering to receive the proper therapy, but loved ones also need to learn how to cope and be supportive.

    Invaluable article, Somali. I wish you all the best. ❤

    • Dear Rose, I am so sorry to hear about your cousin. It is sad but you have rightly pointed out that families also need to know how to detect the signs of depression and be supportive of the person. And yes, the stigma around it has to go for lives to be saved.
      Rose, I am also sorry to have somehow missed your comment earlier. Please do not mind. Thank you so much for your wishes. Will catch up on your blog sometime this week.

  • The author has pointed out rightly that depression is looked upon as a social stigma. Unfortunately, most people fail to empathize with the victims and label them as mentally retarded or even lunatic! Depression is just a mental disease like any physical one. Dr Chowdhury has made the post precise. Thanks for coming up with the issue.

  • Wonderful post you have shared Somali..
    Having suffered from depression in my life time.. It is now more readily agreed that it is best to talk about how you are feeling.. Back in my teens, this was not recognised as much, and Metal Health today is now given far more attention than it used to..
    Being able to talk to someone who ‘Listens’ and understands how one is feeling is crucial.

    And I am thankful today more attention is being given to mental health..
    Love and Blessings my friend..

    • Very rightly said, Sue. We all need someone who ‘Listens’ and understands how we feel, without being judgmental of us. Same holds true for anybody suffering from depression. Maybe the listener needs to be much mire patient and empathetic. Let’s hope that with such initiatives by institutions, the importance of mental health gets recognized and the stigma around it is removed.
      I thank you for sharing your thoughts. Wish you a great week ahead. I will catch up with you on your blog sometime this week. Love & Regards, Somali

  • Depression is the disease of the moment. It is high time that it must be declassified as a psychiatric illness. It has become an epidemic and is going to grow further with the society investing more stress and pace to our lives. Our outlook towards the disease is still generations old with huge stigma spilled all around. The article has nicely brought out the current scenario and explained a simple yet effective remedy to it. Simple and crisp narration has ensured that the content is reader friendly. Apt article to be included in campaigns and general awareness. Applauds to the author….

  • Very nice post… Having a conversation is a very wise way to get rid of depression…

  • I agree,we need to talk about it. People go on talking about their physical health, but when it comes to mental health, everyone goes quiet. Fortunately, things are changing now.
    A very timely, article.

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